Originally created 08/14/98

Tom Hanks, 'Philadelphia' draw viewers



LOS ANGELES -- CBS may have had concerns about airing the AIDS-themed movie "Philadelphia," but audiences weren't reluctant to watch: The movie ranked fifth in last week's Nielsen ratings.

The film undoubtedly got a boost from star Tom Hanks' current popularity in "Saving Private Ryan," the box-office leader for three weeks. In "Philadelphia," Hanks plays a lawyer facing job discrimination because of his illness.

CBS had kept the 1993 film on the shelf for several years, reportedly nervous about its distressing subject matter, according to TV Guide.

Network spokesman Chris Ender denied Tuesday there was any reluctance to air the movie, saying the network simply had waited to find the right spot for it.

The network notched its second consecutive weekly win over NBC, with a 6.6 household rating and 12 share that just edged NBC's 6.5 rating and matching 12 share. ABC was third with a 5.8 rating and 11 share, followed by Fox's 4.6 rating and 9 share.

WB earned a 2.4 rating and 4 share, while UPN had a 1.8 rating, 3 share, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

A rating point represents 980,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 98 million TV homes. Share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

The debut episode of ABC's summer series "Maximum Bob," which stars Beau Bridges as a flamboyant Florida judge, performed well, tying for the 13th spot with the CBS news magazine "48 Hours."

Also scoring in its first outing for ABC was the new Drew Carey-hosted summer game show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" which tied for 17th with a "Frasier" rerun on NBC.

"Whose Line Is It Anyway" did even better when it came to the advertiser-favored 18-to-49 audience, finishing third among those viewers, ABC said.

In a week that included the terrorist bombings in Africa, NBC's "Nightly News" was the most-watched evening newscast with a 7.2 rating and 17 share. ABC's "World News Tonight" had a 7.0 rating and 16 share and the "CBS Evening News" had a 6.9 rating and 16 share.

Prime time ratings as compiled by Nielsen Media Research for August 3-August 9. Top 10 listings include the week's ranking, with rating for the week and season-to-date rankings in parentheses.

An "X" in parentheses denotes one-time-only presentations. The rating is the percentage of the nation's estimated 98 million TV homes. Each ratings point represents 980,000 households.

1. (1) "Seinfeld," NBC, 10.8, 10.6 million homes.

2. (12) "Dateline NBC-Tuesday," NBC, 10.4, 10.2 million homes.

3. (14) "Dateline NBC-Monday," NBC, 10.2, 10.0 million homes.

4. (11) "Just Shoot Me," NBC, 10.1, 9.9 million homes.

5. (9) "CBS Sunday Movie: Philadelphia," CBS, 10.0, 9.8 million homes.

6. (7) "60 Minutes," CBS, 9.9, 9.7 million homes.

7. (2) "ER," NBC, 9.5, 9.3 million homes.

8. (5) "Friends," NBC, 8.6, 8.4 million homes.

9. (8) "Touched by an Angel," CBS, 8.4, 8.2 million homes.

9. (22) "20/20-Monday," ABC, 8.4, 8.2 million homes.

11. "Suddenly Susan," NBC, 8.3, 8.1 million homes.

12. "PrimeTime Live," ABC, 8.2, 8.0 million homes.

13. "8 Hours," CBS, 8.1, 7.9 million homes.

13. "Maximum Bob," ABC, 8.1, 7.9 million homes.

15. "Guinness World Records: Primetime," FOX, 8.0, 7.8 million homes.

16. "The Drew Carey Show," ABC, 7.8, 7.6 million homes.

17. "Frasier," NBC, 7.6, 7.4 million homes.

17. "Whose Line is it Anyway," ABC, 7.6, 7.4 million homes.

19. "20/20-Friday," ABC, 7.5, 7.3 million homes.

20. "Diagnosis Murder," CBS, 7.3, 7.2 million homes.

21. "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 7.2

21. "Law and Order," NBC, 7.2

23. (X) "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 7.1

23. "Home Improvement," ABC, 7.1

25. (X) "Countryfest '98," CBS, 6.7

25. "3rd Rock From Sun," NBC, 6.7